July 2011. After a bit of determined searching in some likely looking habitat, Twinflower has been discovered for the very first time in Glenfeshie.
With the Strathspey stronghold for Twinflower concentrated on Abernethy Forest and one or two woods in the Grantown-on-Spey area, and just a few sites known from Glenmore, Rothiemurchus, Inshriach and Feshiebridge, Glenfeshie presented an obvious gap on the Twinflower distribution map and was top of the list of sites for the project to check out this summer.
A day searching through the ancient pinewood remnants to the south of Glenfeshie Lodge was all it took for Twinflower to reveal itself! A second day in the area, in the company of fellow botanist Laurie Pommeroy, brought the discovery of two more Twinflower patches in woods to the west of Glenfeshie Lodge. This bounty of Twinflower records was accompanied by a number of Intermediate Wintergreen, Common Wintergreen and Serrated Wintergreen records, not to mention the rich diversity of other plant species present in the area due to the influence of limestone rock.
In recent years the management of Glenfeshie Estate has moved away from a sporting emphasis towards the conservation and restoration of the native pine forest. To achieve this, deer numbers have been dramatically reduced on the estate to promote natural tree regeneration. The positive effects of this hard work are already clear for everyone to see - in a very short space of time young pine seedlings are springing up all over the place!
This is exactly the kind of situation where it is important to establish the location and current status of key pinewood plant species, such as Twinflower and the Wintergreens, so that targeted actions to ensure their long-term survival and spread can be incorporated into long-term management plans for the estate.